Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) today publishes its report following a review of the homicide committed by Matthew Williams at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel, Argoed, Blackwood in November 2014.

The report investigates the healthcare and support provided to Mr N in the period prior to November 2014.

The homicide took place on the 6 November 2014. The victim was a 22-year old female, Cerys Yemm (referred to as Ms J throughout the report). Matthew Williams (referred to as Mr N throughout the report) was 34 years old at the time of the offence.


Shortly after his restraint and arrest by Gwent Police on 6 November 2014 Mr N died. The circumstances surrounding Matthew Williams’ death are subject to an ongoing Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation. A Coroner’s inquest is examining the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Matthew Williams and Cerys Yemm.


The findings of our review suggest that it is difficult to see how the incident of 6 November 2014 could have been either predicted or prevented by health services. Whilst we did find areas for improvement relating to healthcare and support in the course of our review and these are highlighted by our recommendations, we do not believe that the presence of these issues contributed to this tragic incident.


The main findings of the report are:

  • From his adolescence Mr N was a prolific user of drugs. Throughout the remainder of his life he continued his relationship with drugs and other illicit substances, a relationship that was harmful and had a negative impact on his mental health.
  • Mr N was a prolific offender with a total of 26 convictions against 78 offences; 41 offences resulted in juvenile custodial sentences, followed by 14 offences resulting in custodial sentences in adult prison.
  • Mr N proved a complex and challenging individual to supervise and support from a health perspective. Mr N demonstrated repeated poor compliance with various appointments and rarely complied with prescribed medication.
  • Despite a diagnosis of schizophrenia in 2004, there was insufficient evidence in recent years of such an illness, more a vulnerability towards developing psychosis following drug consumption. This diagnosis was never re-evaluated, and it is unclear, given his illicit drug misuse, whether this diagnosis can or should have been fully relied upon.
  • Between 2004 and the incident of November 2014, Mr N did not display typical schizophrenic symptoms. He did however require regular psychiatric support and monitoring over this time period.
  • During his time in both HMP Cardiff and HMP Parc prisons, Mr N was the recipient of regular and well documented care from prison health services.
  • As a result of having served his entire twenty seven month sentence in prison, Mr N was released from HMP Parc on 23 October 2014 without any statutory supervision. Although not compelled to engage, Mr N was offered support with accommodation, employment or help addressing his substance misuse. However, he was disinterested and not willing to engage with the support available to him.
  • Upon his release, accommodation was secured for Mr N by Caerphilly County Borough Council at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel. We were concerned to learn of the absence of risk information, such as an individual’s prior offence, that was routinely shared by Caerphilly County Borough Council with the Sirhowy Arm Hotel or any owners of those providing such accommodation.
  • Mr N’s presentation in the immediate days and weeks leading up to the incident of 6 November 2014, indicated he was low in mood, pessimistic about his future but without signs or symptoms of mental illness such as psychotic symptoms. The change in Mr N’s behaviour at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel is likely to have been a result of his taking illicit and/or psychoactive substances and his severe reaction to this.
  • It is difficult to see how the incident of 6 November 2014 could have been either predicted or prevented by health services.

Full details are available in the attached report.


The report makes 10 recommendations in respect of the care and treatment provided to Mr N.


Chief Executive of HIW, Kate Chamberlain, said today:


"Mr Williams was reluctant to engage with the support available to him and this had tragic consequences. However, our review has concluded that it would have been difficult for health services to have predicted or prevented what happened.


The incident of 6 November 2014 touched everyone connected with it. Our review makes a number of recommendations, including recommendations on support for families and staff following such events. Whilst none of these reflect issues considered to have materially contributed to the incident it is important that we use this opportunity to learn and improve services for the future"

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